Aston Villa could make an ambitious swoop for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips this summer as Steven Gerrard has listed the England international as a priority signing.
The Villa boss is keen to recruit a new holding midfielder and add more defensive reinforcements to his squad when the upcoming window opens in June. And Phillips, as well as Brighton’s Yves Bissouma, is a name that features high on Gerrard’s transfer wish list.
The Telegraph claim that Villa could spend £60million on the midfielder while he is yet to pen fresh terms at Elland Road. The report adds that talks over a new deal have “stalled”, though it is understood that the England international is keen to sign a new contract at his boyhood club.
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As Villa aim high this summer, they will face competition from several top clubs for their targets, including Phillips and Bissouma. Manchester United, West Ham and cash-rich Newcastle are all interested in a summer swoop for Phillips, while Bissouma will also have a long list of suitors as he enters the final 12 months of his contract at the end of the season.
And with Villa set to compete with clubs who can offer European football, it might be tough for Gerrard to convince players to join the club’s ambitious project. Especially if Man Utd take advantage of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur’s inconsistent form and gatecrash the top four before the end of the season, Leeds star Phillips could be tempted to switch Elland Road for Old Trafford.
The Manchester Evening News has reported that United have made good progress in their bid to bring Phillips to the club this summer, but Champions League football could allow the Red Devils to attract more midfield targets, such as Declan Rice and Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans.
In fact, United are currently the bookmakers’ favourite to sign both Rice and Tielemans this summer. Sky Bet price Rice to United at 3/1, while Tielemans has been tipped to follow him at that same price. In the event that United buy Rice or Tielemans, a £60million move for Phillips might be off the cards as the club prepares for the arrival of Erik the Hag, who is expected to be named as the new manager.
Villa might be forced to adopt a patient approach to land their top targets, but Gerrard can’t put all his eggs in one basket and lose out on alternative targets.